As the sun set behind us in the cemetery, I couldn't help but smile and think of the line in the song. "Lord when I die, I want to live on the outskirts of heaven..."
On Wednesday morning, we took a family trip home to Indiana to celebrate Christmas a few days early with Joey's family. We had such a wonderful time. I started to write about the trip, but in the end, nothing I could say captured it as well as a few lines and some video clips I took with my iPhone...
Over the last six months or so, I have been asked many times (and encouraged many more times) to write a book. To turn the stories in this blog I write into a book of some sort. I have never really responded to any of the questions before, but the truth is… I am writing a book. It is almost finished actually. But it isn’t filled with blogs that I have written about my wife’s last few months or the posts I wrote about our life for the two years before that, it is a book that covers a life time.
On Monday, we got home from spending some time out west in Wyoming and Montana. It was a trip that has been planned since last winter. But I didn’t plan it… my wife did.
This past February, with snow on the ground outside her window at the little house by the Gaither pond in Indiana, Joey looked at the beautiful view from her bedside, and remembered another view that she loved. And then with her three sisters gathered around her, Joey told stories about our trips out west to the Big Sky Country. She showed them pictures we had taken during some of the adventures our family has had out there over the years. And then she asked me to find a way to take her three sisters and their families out west for the first time this summer.
I have never been a great gift-giver.
Like most men, when Valentines day or a birthday rolls around, I would scramble to find ‘just the right gift’ at 5 pm on my way home from work, or walking through Walmart or Target the night before. It’s embarrassing actually. For me, and for a lot of guys I think.
This past weekend, Indy and I went home to Indiana…without Joey.
It was the first time that we’d been back there, since my wife’s passing in early March. I was excited and nervous about the trip at the same time. Part of me wasn’t ready to go back. Not yet. But another part of me knew it was the right thing, and believed that it would be healing for us. And it was.
It was her last request.
The last thing on the the list Joey gave me, of what she wanted at her funeral service… when the time came. And we both knew that time was coming soon.
“I’d like for someone to sing the hymn Leave It There at my graveside”, Joey said. And then she stopped and added, “no… not someone”, and she looked at me and smiled, “I want Bradley Walker to sing it for me”.